For the first time in five years, Trevor Cox will be playing at home.
The 20-year-old Western Hockey League (WHL) veteran will soon suit up for the Vancouver Giants, who acquired the Surrey native in a trade with the Medicine Tigers last week, a deal which saw 19-year-old defenceman Clayton Kirichenko and a draft pick head to Alberta.
“At first, I was a little surprised and a little upset about leaving Medicine Hat,” said Cox, who had played four full seasons with the Tigers prior to this season. “But at the same time, I was excited about coming to my hometown, and playing in front of family and friends every night. I’ve been getting more excited each day since the trade.”
Cox will give the Giants some offensive punch. The five-foot-eight, 165-pound forward finished second in the WHL scoring race last season with 29 goals and 109 points.
“We’re thrilled to add an elite level offensive player like Trevor to our lineup,” said Giants general manager Scott Bonner said in a release.
Cox, who played in the Semiahmoo Minor Hockey Association before moving to Medicine Hat, netted four goals and eight points with the Tigers before he was sidelined with an injury. He is expected to make his debut with the Giants within the next week, and is excited at the opportunity.
“It was tough to day goodbye to my billet of the past four years, and to say goodbye to some of the guys I’ve played with for several seasons,” he said after practice with the Giants Monday. “But I’ve met with the team, they are a great group of guys. It’s been a crazy few days, but playing in front of my family will be a cool thing. My parents are very excited.”
While living at home with his parents in South Surrey, Cox is making the drive to South Delta almost daily to the Giants practice facility in Ladner, but expects to billet in Tawwassen to be closer to his teammates.
One of three 20-year-olds on the roster, Cox finds himself in a leadership group that includes a pair of 19 year-olds recently acquired from the Calgary Hitmen. Defenceman Ben Thomas and forward Chase Lang were acquired by the Giants a day before trading for Cox. Surrey’s Jakob Stukel, forward Jackson Houck and netminder Cody Porter were sent to Calgary.
“They seem to want to push for the playoffs, and with the guys from Calgary coming in, we have more leadership and experience so it’s an achievable goal,” said Cox. “They (Giants) know I’m an offensive guy who can put up some numbers. I hope to keep doing that, and provide some leadership.”
As the Giants near the end of the first quarter of their season, they have slipped out of a playoff position in the Western Conference. Vancouver was swept by the Tri-City Americans last weekend, dropping a 2-1 overtime decision Friday night in Kennewick, Washington and losing the rematch 4-1 Sunday evening at the Pacific Coliseum. The G-men also lost 5-2 at home to this Lethbridge Hurricanes last Wednesday, leaving themselves with just one win in their last 10 starts.
With 11 points in 15 games played, Vancouver is in fourth position in the B.C. Division, two points out of the final playoff position in the Western Conference, which is now held by the Americans.
The Giants earned one point Friday against Tri-City. Ty Ronning scored with seven minutes remaining in regulation time to tie the game 1-1, forcing a three-on-three overtime period. The Americans needed just two minutes to notch the winning goal.
Payton Lee was a standout in the Giants net, stopping 38 of 40 shots. Vancouver directed 32 shots at the Americans net.
The Giants surrendered three unanswered goals in the last half of Sunday evening’s contest, allowing Tri-City to complete the sweep. The Americans took a 1-0 lead into the second period, but the Giants pulled even when Elliott Peterson beat Tri-City netminder Nicholas Sanders three minutes in.
Parker Bowles scored twice to put the Americans up 3-1 after 40 minutes, and Tri-City added another goal in the third period to clinch the victory.
The Americans outshot their hosts 27-20 and went one-for-four on the powerplay,. Vancouver was scoreless on five mad-advantage opportunities.
The Giants will host the Kamloops Blazers Friday night in the Pacific Coliseum at 7:30 p.m. The Blazers are in the B.C. Division basement, two points back of Vancouver. After a rough start to the season, Kamloops has won four of their last five games.
The Giants will travel into Washington again Saturday night to face the Everett Silvertips.